November 15, 2009
This morning I woke up to someone having submitted a pile of SEO questions using our newsletter question form. At first I thought, “Yikes, that’s kind of pushy to think I have time to answer all those questions!” But then I remembered that this was a newsletter week and I still had no idea what I was going to write about. A second look at the questions made me think that you guys would probably be interested in the answers to many of them, so it worked out perfectly.
Most of these questions have been answered in greater detail in various articles that I’ve written, so if you’d like more info on any of them, I’ve linked to the relevant ones for your convenience.
Thanks to Umair R., who submitted these questions.
1. Is there any fixed rule for Google as far as SEO is concerned? If so, what are the steps?
If only! There are no fixed rules because every website is different and has different needs. There are basic things that all websites need to do in order to improve their chances of showing up in Google search results for relevant phrases, but no magic formula.
See “The Art of SEO” article for more on this.
2. Do the following play important roles in website page ranking and positioning?
Yes, real PageRank (PR), that kind that only Google knows, about plays a very large part in websites showing up (or not) for search queries that are relevant to it. But toolbar PageRank is another matter entirely. What you see there doesn’t correlate very well to where your page will show up in the search results.
See: “Getting Into Google.”
(Scroll down to the “Google Still Loves Its PageRank” part.)
- The number of incoming links
Not so much in and of itself. Real PR, as mentioned above, is calculated not only on the number of links, but also on the quality of those links. A handful of links from authoritative, trustworthy, relevant pages should far outweigh hundreds of links from so-so sites.
- Keyword density
Not in that there’s some special percentage that you need to aim for. Certainly it’s helpful to have the keyword phrases that you’d like to show up being used within the content of your page. But that’s just common sense, if you ask me. Surely, if your page is about a certain something (your keyword phrase), how could that phrase NOT be on the page?
- Page response time
This is important only because if it takes too long to load, it might not be properly (or completely) indexed.
- Bounce rate
It’s doubtful that this matters, because there’s no way for Google to know the bounce rate of every site. And it wouldn’t be fair for them to only count the bounce rates of those sites that have Google Analytics installed, so my guess is that this is not a factor.
- Time on site
Like the above answer, they don’t know this number unless the site has Google Analytics installed. That said, they may sometimes incorporate the old trick of seeing if a searcher clicks to another site in the search results after clicking one result, and how long it took them to click another. In other words, if they find that lots of people who clicked to one site in the search engine results pages (SERPs) always end up back at Google to try another site, then perhaps that first site wasn’t a great answer to the search query after all.
- Domain page / page age
From what I can tell, this can often be a factor. But it doesn’t seem to be as prominent a factor as it was a few years ago.
3. Is there any special technique for content writing?
There’s no special technique, but I highly suggest hiring a professional marketing copywriter. You will see a positive return on your investment very quickly if you do. In addition, the tried and true SEO copyediting techniques in my “Nitty-gritty of Writing for Search Engines” may come in handy if you’re not sure how to integrate your keyword phrases into your professionally written content.
4. Should we cater to code-to-text ratio while developing websites?
There’s not one shred of evidence that this would have an effect on where a page would show up in the search results for a relevant search query.
5. If active scripting is a must for webpage development, how harmful can it be for PageRank and positions?
6. If a webpage is ranking top for a specific keyword, if we make textual changes in that webpage, is there any chance that we lose the rankings?
Any changes you make to a page’s content can affect how relevant the search engines believe it to be for any particular search query. That doesn’t mean it definitely will change the search results, but it could. The only way to know is to try it and see. Usually, if you’re rewriting your page to be more useful to your site visitors and you don’t remove all the instances of the keyword phrase, you should be fine. Because nothing is permanent with SEO, if you don’t like what you see you can tweak it until you do.
7. Is it possible to be #1 for 20 high-volume searched keywords on Google for a particular domain?
Of course. Every website has lots of pages contained within it, each of which has the ability to be relevant for a number of keyword phrases. However, it’s important to note that what you see as the #1 result may not be what everyone else sees. A better question to ask would be, “Is it possible to get search engine traffic for 20 high-volume searched keywords?”
See “5 Reasons Why Rankings Are a Poor Measure of Success.”
8. How many good-quality links does a webpage require to be in #1 position at Google?
See the previous answer about the number of links as well as the article on rankings referenced above.
9. Is link building an ongoing process forever in order to maintain the top positions?
Like most of the answers I’ve been providing, it depends. An awesome website that is different from its competitors and that is continually developing innovative content will consistently generate high-quality links. But the site that is the same as its competitors with no real added value will most likely end up having to beg for links for its entire existence.
10. Is there any other significant factor for SEO apart from those mentioned above?
Yes, there are thousands of other factors! I’d suggest reading all the articles referenced here, as well as past issues of this newsletter. Also, become a regular member of the High Rankings SEO Forum. Keep studying, but more than that, keep trying different things on your own sites – learn what works and what doesn’t that way.
Jill Whalen, CEO of High Rankings and co-founder of SEMNE, has been performing SEO services since 1995. Jill is the host of the High Rankings Advisor newsletter and the High Rankings SEO forum.